Google Glass has had its fair share of press, but one question is asked more than any other: “Does anybody need this?”. While Google, through its Explorer program has sought to discover the answer to this question, they have largely failed. Despite this, there is one area where such a technology could be useful - sports.
With this in mind Recon Instruments, rather than developing apps for Google Glass, has created their own wearable heads up display (HUD) for situations where having your eyes distracted for even a second could spell disaster. Their new device, the Recon Jet, will go on sale in the US in late September for $599.
The Jet consists of a full color widescreen display which is mounted in front of a pair of regular streamlined sunglasses. Data from metrics such as speed, distance, duration, ascent/descent and other fitness information are displayed on this screen which can be viewed easily with only a glance from the wearer. This data itself is processed by an onboard chipset which includes a microprocessor and GPS.
In addition to showing the user this useful information, the device also functions as a wearable video camera, able to capture audio and video in up to 720p. Furthermore, it can sync with your smartphone to display notifications such as incoming SMS messages. Recon Instruments also expects that developers will create new programs for the Jet over time, further increasing its functionality.
Unlike Google Glass’ annoying “Ok Glass” voice controls, Recon Instruments has implemented a more simple system. As voice controls in often noisy sporting environments are hard to implement, the company has instead opted to build an optical touchpad into the glasses which a user can make gestures on - even while wearing gloves - to control the device. In addition, the Jet also features several physical buttons, furthering its simplistic controls.
While the Recon Jet is still quite expensive, by targeting itself at professional sportspeople and sports enthusiasts, the device has more potential of actually finding a market. Useful features like an IP65 waterproof/dustproof rating, as well as a rugged design should see it begin to be worn at major sporting events, in activities such as cycling and skiing. Accompanied with good celebrity endorsements, the Recon Jet could enjoy the same sort of runaway success that we saw with the GoPro.
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